Sunday, March 26, 2017

Poltergeist (2015)

Director - Gil Kenan (Scream: The TV Series, Monster House)
Starring - Sam Rockwell (Cowboys & Aliens, Iron Man 2), Rosemarie DeWitt (The Watch, Mad Men), and Jared Harris (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Boxtrolls)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "They know what scares you"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):

     I enjoy remakes.  I've said it once and I'll say it again.  I really enjoy remakes.  A lot of people immediately shit talk remakes without even checking out the film but they quickly forget that the classics like House of Wax starring Vincent Price and John Carpenter's The Thing are both remakes.  House of Wax is the remake to the 1933 horror thriller Mystery at the House of Wax and The Thing is a remake of The Thing from Another World.  Hell, I even love the remakes for Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween (not the abysmal sequel).  I'm always open to remakes so when it was announced that one of my favorite horror films growing up was getting the remake treatment I was very excited.  I bought a copy of this film back in November during the Black Friday on blu for just a few dollars and never watched it.  Never had the time really but that changed.  When Scream Factory said they were sending over Poltergeist II and III for review I decided it was the perfect time to sit down and watch all the film, including the remake.
     The film follows the Bowen family that is forced to downsize their home due to the father, Eric (Rockwell), losing his job.  They find a house in their budget but needs some major work.  They settle on it and not long after moving in they learn that the property was once a cemetery that was relocated to another neighborhood.  Sometime passes and strange things occur and before long they are engulfed in a full fledged haunting.  Their youngest daughter, Madison, is then taken to another realm by the spirits and they learn that their bodies were never relocated, only the grave markers.  The family enlist the help of television paranormal investigator Carrigan Burke (Harris) to help get Madison back.
     I was very excited for this film and when the opportunity to watch it in theaters past me up I knew it would be some time before I could actually make the time to see it.  I didn't think it would be as good as the original but I thought I would still have fun with it.  The film had some moments, and a few characters I enjoyed, but most of the cast was just all wrong.  The acting was not bad.  Not in the least but they were not believable.  Sam Rockwell will never be able to convince me that he is a loving family man.  He is continuously typecast as the wise cracking asshole that only looks out for himself.  I have yet to see a film where I thought otherwise and this film is no exception.  The remainder of the cast is decent as well but they are unable to capture the charm of the original cast.  They feel awkward and out of place.  With that being said, Jared Harris was fantastic.  The team behind the remake knew they would never be able to make a character as iconic as Zelda Rubenstein's character so they took a different approach.  Harris' paranormal investigator character was brilliant.  Honestly, I would have preferred to watch an entire film about him and his exploits.  The story for this one is mostly what we got in the original with some minor changes.  The dad is unemployed where the father in the original was a real estate broker and so on.  These minor changes does not affect the story but the execution does.  Some of the scenes in the remake are very long winded and boring.  These scenes need trimmed down drastically and cut to make the story feel more streamlined.  Finally, the film is full of practical and visual effects.  The practical effects we do get are great.  The team really went for it and it shows.  However, the visual effects are not consistent.  Some effects look cheap and quickly put together while others look great and really surprised me.  The effects department needed to get on the same page.  Overall, Poltergeist just didn't go the distance.  I wasn't expecting a perfect film but I was expecting something enjoyable.  This one failed. 

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